Twins (2), braids (3), and DNA (4) as metaphors for the number of fundamental management concerns

Two overarching and equal terms could describe all of law department management: people and processes. The concept of people encompasses all aspects of talent management, cognitive styles, and leadership. We might even include outside counsel in people. Perhaps we would call that side the Dionysian twin. The Apollonian twin, processes, encompasses all systems, practices and management initiatives in law departments.

If we add another core concept, we have a three-way braid. Each of three concepts weave together to help us describe the essentials of how to manage a law department. Along with people and processes, structure would intertwine. Structure has to do with the location and organization of the people in the law department as well as the scope of their work.

The next metaphor adds one more fundamental management concern and it draws on DNA, which consists of four proteins. The four chief concerns of law department managers would be people, processes, and structure plus what I call “resources.” Resources encompass software, hardware, infrastructure, and all providers of services to the law department, notably law firms.

I could extend this way of thinking about what stands out as most important to those who manage in-house attorneys, such as to a pentagon and so on, but two, three, or four concepts of law department management should suffice.

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